Trouble Up North

The Saxon Times 

31st August 1066

Norse 

HARDRADA’S INVASION DIARY

Harald Hardrada calls to arms his Viking brothers and embarks from the Isle of Solund. His invasion fleet consists of 300 warships and about 12000 men. It is a formidable force and prides itself on its fierce history.

SHETLAND

16th August and Hardrada reaches the Shetland Islands. There is ‘overlord business’ to take care of as befitting a colony of Norway and the stay on Shetland is prolonged for a few days. The men use the time for a little rest and recreation in the true Viking way and there are a few battered and weary bodies when the call comes to embark ship for the next journey.

ORKNEY

By the end of the week, they reach the Orkney Islands, another Norwegian protectorate.

To cement his position as King and to seal the alliance, Hardrada betroths his daughters to the brothers Paul Thorfinnsson and Erland Thorfinnsson who jointly rule the Isles as Earls of Orkney.

It is no coincidence that the Earls ‘agree’ to provide reinforcements for the Norse army and they sail to Scotland with Hardrada at the end of August.

VIKING FEAST FIT FOR A KING

Hardrada spends the rest of August feasting, renewing and accepting new oaths of fealty.

A horse was sacrificed to the old Gods, spitted and roasted until it fell off the bone. Salt fish and pork and goat added courses to the feast with plenty of fresh heavy bred to mop up the grease and gravy.

Some would use the bred as a plate, rather than the wooden bowls laid out for Hardrada, and their fingers instead of the sharp knives and spoons – made from wood, horn or animal bone. For the King they had been carved and decorated in the form of a dragon.

For the lesser tables, there was stew from the great iron cauldron over the fire. The stew, of boiled lamb bones, beans, peas, carrots, turnips and whatever else could be found, had been simmering for the last few days. The smoke from this fire and the one for the spit, roasting the horse, left the great long hall full of smoke.

A thin layer of fat has formed over the stew that softens the bred and which the men seem to enjoy although there is little appetite for the fresh fruit and the honey on buttered bred.

There is beer and more beer but Hardrada seems to prefer his mead made from the local honey and drunk from a silvered and decorated animal horn. The men get louder, the more they drink and soon start to sing the old Norse songs before falling asleep on the floor of the Great Hall.

For the full report behind these headlines and the reports, read 1066 The Saxon Times and experience the Norman Conquest through the eyes of the Saxon Times reporters.

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June 1066: News of Tostig and William

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TOSTIG’S TORTUOUS TRAVELS

Tostig’s European Tour continues.  ‘Once I get to the Orkneys, it will be easy to sail to Norway to meet Harald Hardrada. He too has a claim to the throne and has an axe to grind with Harold’ said Tostig.

IS HARALD HARDRADA TOSTIG’S LAST HOPE?

Reports suggest that on 2nd June Tostig did indeed sail to Norway. He thinks that he has a ‘good idea’ that will appeal to King Harald Hardrada.

If Hardrada believes that any campaign with Tostig will succeed he is more stupid than he looks. Believe me when I say that he is doomed, he is really doomed. All Tostig’s ideas ultimately prove disastrous.

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE

On the 17th June, a Charter for the Holy Trinity in Caen was ratified by William and confirmed the status of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity. Work had started on this Benedictine monastery in 1062 as a penance to appease the Bishop of Rouen following William’s marriage to Matilda of Flanders.

Following the dedication of the Abbey, sources close to the Duke suggested that it was a further example of William’s godliness.

COMMENT

I believe that William is profiting from the Papal Blessing and that the dedication of the Abbey, at this time, is more than coincidence. I suggest that it is all propaganda, designed to woo the people of Normandy to follow William on some kind of religious crusade.

It seems that you can pull the wool over people’s eyes all the time.

For the full report behind these headlines and the reports, read 1066 The Saxon Times and experience the Norman Conquest through the eyes of the Saxon Times reporters.

For more information on The Saxon Times and to LOOK INSIDE visit: www.1066thesaxontimes.com/home

LONDON MONTHLY: 30TH JUNE 1066

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Read about 1066 in this brief summary of The Saxon Times.

The Saxon Times is the paper that brings you the news as it happened and editorial, comment, features, foreign news, and special editions to bring the events to life.

Read the stories behind the headlines when The Saxon Times is published in September 2016.

LONDON MONTHLY: 30TH JUNE 1066

Royal Press Release 1st June 1066

By Our Royal Correspondent

Eadgard of West Minster

‘Today, King Harold II sails from Westminster to join the Royal Fleet.

The Fleet will sail to the Isle of Wight and will stay there until the 8th of September.

The Phoney War Continues

There is still the feeling amongst some of the King’s aides that it will ‘all be over by the end of summer’.

Reports from France tell of an army of men all along the Norman coast, building and fitting out ships of all sizes for carrying men, horses, provisions and weapons.

 

Normandy News

A Blessing in Disguise

On the 17th June, a Charter for the Holy Trinity in Caen was ratified by William and confirmed the status of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, sources close to the Duke suggested that it was a further example of William’s godliness.

Robert The New Duke Of Normandy

Also on the 17th June, the following short court statement was issued:

‘Duke William hereby confirms that his son Robert will be proclaimed as Duke of Normandy should he fail to return from England.’

Does William Expect To Die?

With this official proclamation of his succession, is it the first sign of the vulnerability of Duke William. To leave Normandy in the hands of one so young speaks of William’s realisation of human frailty.

 

Last Month’s Quiz – ‘Where Will Tostig Go Next?’

The winner is Sigbert of Elesford and arrangements will be made to deliver his prize of a cow, donated by Rochester Abbey, as soon as possible.

 

Tostig’s Tortuous Travels

Tostig’s European Tour continues.

 

Harald Hardrada, Tostig’s Last Hope

Tostig thinks that he has a good idea that will appeal to King Harald Hardrada.

 

News from Europe: Germany June 1066

It is announced that his Imperial Majesty, Henry IV, King of Germany, has married Bertha of Savoy and Turin, daughter of Otto, Count of Savoy.

The Royal couple have been betrothed since 1055

 

There is much more to read about June 1066 in an A3 size poster available from History Walks.

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